Israel Criminalizes Delivering Humanitarian Aid
by Stephen Lendman
Gazans have been blockaded under siege for over nine years - for political, not security reasons.
Claims otherwise are outrageous Israeli lies - repeated to justify the unjustifiable. Efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gazans are systematically blocked the way Saudis now slowly starve Yemenis to death and deprive them of vitally needed medical care.
Freedom Flotilla III is heading for Gaza - aiming to break Israel's blockade. Flotilla I and II were blocked. The first May 2010 mission cost nine activists' lives aboard the Mavi Marmara along with dozens more wounded and everyone brutally treated and arrested.
Flotillas will continue sailing "until the illegal blockade of Gaza is permanently lifted," its sponsors maintain.
"Our voyage is a natural, brotherly action. Our objective is humanitarian. Our basis lies in international humanitarian law. (O)ur method is non-violen(t)."
Israel's lawless blockade must be unconditionally ended. Palestinian Joint (Arab) List MK Basel Ghattas is aboard Ship to Gaza's Marianne of Gothenburg, Sweden teemed up with other vessels comprising Freedom Flotilla III.
Racist Knesset members want him prosecuted. More on this below. Ghattas wrote an open letter to Netanyahu knowing it's like talking to a wall.
He'll be with former Tunisian President Dr. Moncef Marzouki, other activists, parliamentary members and public figures from various countries heading for Gaza following the flotilla's stop in Athens, he said.
Their peaceful mission "aim(s) to end the siege by way of turning international attention to the situation of 1.8 million Palestinians, living in disgraceful, prison-like conditions as a result of Israel's military siege of both sea and land - not to mention that it poses collective punishment and brutal violation of the international humanitarian law," he explained.
"The third freedom flotilla carries humanitarian aid for the residents of the Strip and aims to end the siege. There is no reason for trying to prevent us from reaching Gaza and forward the aid we bring with us."
"I request that you command the Israeli security forces to stay away and allow the flotilla to arrive at its destination."
"Any form of takeover to prevent this will only involve Israel in yet another difficult international scandal that you and your government will be responsible for."
MK Dr. Basel Ghattas
On Tuesday, Knesset House Committee members voted to strip Ghattas of his immunity to prosecute him for doing the right thing. The committee on its own lacks authority to act.
Joint List parliamentarians vowed an appeal for justice to Israel's High Court. Given Israeli ruthlessness, Ghattas is more at risk of being killed or brutalized than prosecuted.
Lawless high-seas Israeli interdiction is virtually certain. The IDF said it would block any attempt to deliver aid to Gaza.
Arab MKs support their colleague. Racist Jewish lawmakers want Gazans isolated, suffocated and subjected to attacks whenever Israel wishes.
Arab List's Ahmad Tibi said "(i)f it was up to the Knesset committee, there would be no Arab Knesset members."
"Every time we say something (racist MKs) don't like, (they) tell us to go to Gaza. So now (Ghattas) is going. What more do (they) want? He is not (going) to negotiate with Hamas, unlike Israel('s) (method) during Operation Protective Edge and continuing till today."
Likud's Yoav Kish accused Tibi of "fighting on behalf of the Palestinians…(T)his isn't their parliament here. We'll do everything to stop you."
Racist Likud MK Oren Hazan railed against Arab MKs saying if it's "not good for you here…(y)ou're welcome to leave. The land of Israel is for the Jewish people (alone). We are here to stay. I'm not sure about you, though."
Arab MK Hanin Zoabi was attacked earlier for participating in the 2010 flotilla. She defended Ghattas saying Israel's blockade amounts to a "war crime."
"In Gaza, an entire generation hasn't left and doesn't know anything" outside its borders. She urged "prosecut(ing) those responsible politically and militarily for the situation in Gaza."
Flotilla media coordinator Staffan Graner said vessels are on their way. "Next stop is Gaza." The Marianne will be joined by at least two more boats. He didn't provide further details.
Arrival is expected by end of June. He called any effort by Israel to block them a "bad decision. We are not an aid organization. The main problem with delivering aid to Gaza is the restriction of trade."
"If they don't let us in, our message" still resonates worldwide. "The blockade is illegal and creates less security for everyone."
Last Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said her ministry intends all means to prevent flotilla vessels from reaching Gaza. Ghattas' participation involves him with "serving the enemy with parliamentary immunity," she added.
Racist Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev wrote Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and its Ethics Committee chairman Yirzhak Vaknin asking for Ghattas' parliamentary immunity to be stripped so he can be prosecuted.
Israel's Knesset is infested with hate-mongering racists. They consider supporting Palestinian rights incitement against the state of Israel.
So far, Speaker Edelstein opposes changing immunity rules for MKs, saying it's "our joint privilege and we should not harm it."
Ghattas won't let racist Israelis block his humanitarian efforts. No one on board flotilla vessels has weapons or wants violence, he said.
Israelis have their own ideas. "If the IDF wants to kill, then shoot," said Ghattas, "but we will not shoot or have any weapons whatsoever of any kind or any violent intention."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.